Friday, October 5, 2007

Tax increase aftermath -- recall threats loom

Democrats and Republicans voted to increase the Michigan income tax and create a service tax component to the sales tax. There isn't a tax in the world that everyone likes. The services to be taxed are presumably non-essential activities, but somehow, greens fees didn't make the list -- a shameless nod to the clout of class in the legislature.

Anti-tax activists in Michigan are freshly emboldened -- they finally have something concrete to protest. And they are threatening recall actions against DINOs and RINOs and even Governor Granholm. But what they are really threatening is to punish legislators who had the guts to break ranks. The Republicans are getting ready to eat their own. Being a proud card-carrying member of the GOP means never breaking ranks, never choosing to acknowledge that still small voice within (unless it's coming from an ear piece at a press conference or during a debate).

The new taxes are not perfect and reasonable small business persons have concerns about administering and collecting the new monies. They also question why some services, but not other obvious choices must bear the new burden. These are legitimate questions that citizens and legislators need to discuss.

But this isn't the debate we're hearing from those hoping to make hay at the moment. Instead of constructive criticism or dialog, opponents offer shrill, combative, politicized rhetoric -- the fuel of negative campaigning.

Here are some articles to check out on the current situation:
Protax votes may carry a high cost Detroit News
Group may fight new state tax on services Crain's
Lawmaker's benefits, pay still could become issue MLive